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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by…

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (original 1975; edition 1980)

by Verna Aardema

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2,8272122,057 (4.1)11
Title:Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Authors:Verna Aardema
Info:Scholastic (1980), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:ETEC 525

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Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema (1975)


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Everyone knows that mosquitoes are annoying! But why are they always buzzing by your ear? Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale tells us why. The mosquito told such a lie to the iguana that the couldn't bear to listen to it and put sticks in his ears. After these actions snowball, one of Mother Owl's owlets is killed from a falling branch and she can't bear to call the sun. King Lion calls a meeting to get to the bottom of it. After we find out it's the mosquito's fault the antelope is sent to fetch him, but he is nowhere to be found. He spends the rest of his days wondering if everyone is still mad at him. He asks the humans, but they only swat at him.
  mercedeslillian | Mar 18, 2017 |
The message represented in this book is that you should be careful of your decisions, as it can have a lasting effect on others. I liked the book, the only thing I thought could have been better were the illustrations. For example, when the lion confronts the monkey on page 14, there are so many different shapes and colors going on its hard to differentiate between the animals. Therefore, because of the abstract illustrations, I feel kids will either be too distracted or simply become bored. However, I did enjoy the author’s use of repetitions and word play. Every time the lion confronted an animal, he repeated the sequence, for example, “it was the iguana who upset the python, who scared the rabbit, who startled the crow, who alarmed the monkey, who killed the owlet, and now mother won’t wake the sun so that the day can come.” The rhyming and repetition make up for the unappealing illustrations, in my opinion, and make the reading enjoyable. ( )
  thodge3 | Mar 2, 2017 |
Diane and Leo Dillon were awarded the Caldecott Medal for their woodcut illustrations of this African folk tale.

When the mosquito tells the iguana what he saw, the iguana gets annoyed. Not wanting to listen to such nonsense, he plugs his ears. As a result, he doesn’t hear the python’s greeting, and the snake believes iguana is angry with him and plotting some sort of revenge. So, python looks for a hole to hide in, which frightens the rabbit …. Etc It’s a fun, repetitive story that children will enjoy listening to, and which explores the unintended consequences of our actions. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 28, 2017 |
Genre: folktale
Age: beginner
Review/Critique: the story is about the animal kingdom in Africa. A mosquito annoys a iguana and that escalates to killing a baby owl. When the owl won't hoot to wake the sun up an investigation goes underway. Eventually it is found that it is the mosquitos fault but before punishment the mosquito gets away. The reason why mosquitos buzz in our ears is to check if the animals are still angry at him. It is a folktale because, the author says so, and because it give us the reason why mosquitos do what they do. ( )
  jessminson | Feb 13, 2017 |
“Why mosquitos buzz in people’s ears” is a perfect example for children about how the community needs each other to be successful. The West African tale uses all of the significant structures of a folktale, including talking animals, personification, and the explanation of naturally occurring events. When a mosquito comes and talks in an iguana’s ear, it starts chaos in the whole community. The chaos is solved after the mosquito is smashed by someone when she asked if everyone was still mad at her for telling a big lie.
Personal Reaction:
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Being an aunt of two little girls who are at the stage where they are learning the importance of telling the truth this book helped me better understand a way in which to explain why it’s always important to tell the truth.
1. Have children write a paper about something they have done or experiences that has impacted others
2. Talk to the children about the importance of telling the truth and not telling lies
  caitlynf | Feb 12, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verna Aardemaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Marcia VanDuinen who heard this story first
First words
One morning a mosquito saw an iguana drinking at a waterhole.
Is everyone still mad at me?
Mosquito told me such a big lie, I couldn't bear to listen to it. So I put sticks in my ears.
I'd rather be deaf than listen to such nonsense!
It was the mosquito's fault
The mosquito said, "I saw a farmer digging yams that were almost as big as I am."
"What's a mosquito compared to a yam?" snapped the iguana grumpily.
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Book description
This West African pourquoi tale explains why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. It all starts with Mosquito telling a lie to Iguana. Tired of listening to Mosquito, Iguana puts twigs in his own ears. When Python tries to talk to Iguana and Iguana doesn't respond to him, it sets off a chain of events that leads to the sun not rising in the morning. King Lion must learn the story of the events leading back to Mosquito's lie in order to get Mother Owl to call the sun. The story is enhanced by beautiful Caldecott winning illustrations.

If you enjoyed this story, try "Ahanti to Zulu: African Traditions".
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Reveals the meaning of the mosquito's buzz.

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